Monday, November 30, 2009
Around the NFC West: Cardinals hurting
By Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals aren't the same without Kurt Warner. Bickley: "This game was too painful, and attempts to minimize the sting were feeble and clumsy. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said his defense controlled Titans running back Chris Johnson fairly well, if not for that 85-yard touchdown burst. For a moment, he sounded just like Clancy Pendergast, the former defensive coordinator who specialized in such rationalizations, the same guy that Whisenhunt fired after the end of last season."
Also from Bickley: the final play of the game hurt almost as badly as the Cardinals' defeat in Super Bowl XLIII, according to Whisenhunt.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Warner did not play after experiencing neck soreness and sensitivity to light. Warner: "I had some tightness in my neck all week, so I think we were trying gauge whether what I was feeling was coming from the issues in my neck or whether it was an issue with my head. If we could've pinpointed it and believed that it was just muscular and in the neck, then I probably would've played."
Also from Somers: Matt Leinart did not get additional snaps during the week even though Warner was questionable for the game. That seems like shaky planning, in retrospect. For some reason I thought they had given a few extra reps to Leinart just in case.
More from Somers: postgame notes, including recognition for Darnell Dockett after a three-sack performance.
More still from Somers: Arizona's locker room was just about silent following this defeat. Somers: "It was so quiet, you could almost hear the fan from a beverage cooler." Linebacker Clark Haggans: "You can tell by our locker room, it's crickets, because everybody's hurt."
One more from Somers: Larry Fitzgerald made his 500th career reception. Among all players in NFL history, only teammate Anquan Boldin made it to 500 receptions in fewer games.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers postgame notes, including his take on the Arizona quarterbacks. Urban: "Obviously, quarterback was the big story. Matt Leinart played above average. He didn’t do enough in the first half; he was much better in the second as his confidence clearly grew (I could see it all the way from the press box). He needs to play better, sure. Is it unfair to compare him to Kurt Warner, sure. Warner set the bar high; even if Leinart becomes a star, it’s unlikely he’d ever post the passing numbers Warner does. That's reality."
Also from Urban: He assesses the damage inside the postgame locker room. Dockett: "I'd rather get blown out than lose a game like that."
More from Urban: Leinart's thoughts on playing after not getting many reps. Leinart: "For a backup, I think I get a decent amount of reps but … it’s just hard. The starting quarterback has to prepare. I get that. But it’s tough, because I don’t get to run a lot of the new plays. Today, you kind of wing it."
More still from Urban: Leinart had a familiar feeling while watching Vince Young lead the Titans downfield at his expense.